Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Thorn in my Flesh...

There are days when I hurt so badly that I just want to curl up, forget my responsibilities, neglect  my duties, ignore family and friends, shut down my life and just give up.  There have been several times during the past five years when I have felt utterly defeated and forsaken.  Then...

I think about those who suffer more.  Those coping with the reality of a terminal illness as well has their long suffering caregivers, those who deal with pain without medical intervention, those who are hungry and homeless, those who are beaten daily or abused in a fashion I can't even imagine.  I think of these people whom most I do not know and never will then...

I feel ashamed.

I hang my head and repent of my selfishness.  Sure, I hurt.  Sure, it's getting worse. Sure, it isn't curable, but I am loved, supported and I have help.  Help from the medical community, beloved friends and family.  Mostly, I have faith. Faith that has been born out of a less than perfect life, but oh, such a blessed one!

Blessed in countless ways since the day I was born.  Blessings that have been undeserved, unearned and are unfinished.  God has rewarded my faith during times of trial over and over and over again.  He has shown his faithfulness and love and yet, I still forget.  But, he does not!

This "thorn in my flesh" is being used for his glory.  His power shows up through my weakness and his grace is sufficient for me.  So, even during the really bad days when I am tempted to give up, I instead, surrender (yet again) to God's wisdom and I am humbled.

I have learned by grace not to simply pray for my own relief, but for all those who suffer as much or far greater than I do.  I pray for the healing of  broken hearts, damaged pasts, unrelenting misfortunes or anguish I can't even imagine.  I pray for their miracles.  It feels right and good.  God is already using my
pain for his glory by chastening my self-absorption.  How much more before he is finished?

I may never see the end of this pain.  There may never be a healing miracle of my physical body, but this "thorn of the flesh" is itself, a miracle.  I feel mor empathy, more gratitude and more real joy than any other time in my 58 years on this earth.

I once would never have envisioned, but I have learned that this scripture is so very true,  "But he (God) said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 9-10